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The humble toilet. It’s an invention that many of us take for granted. You go do what you have to do, press a button, and it all gets flushed away nicely. It literally does become someone else’s business!
But, for anyone who enjoys camping in the great outdoors, toilets become anything but humble. There is a huge variety of toilets you can choose from and picking the right one isn’t an easy task.
If you want the satisfying flush, there’s only one type of toilet for you: the camping toilet with flush; for the more discerning camper where nothing else will do.
So how do flushable toilets work?
Your portable flushing camping toilet isn’t connected to the sewer, so instead your number two gets stored in a holding tank. This holding tank contains chemicals that break down that waste. These chemicals also help to reduce nasty smells and kill germs.
Most camping toilets use water to flush and this is stored in a separate tank inside the loo itself. The flushing part of it comes by using a hand or foot pump.
As you pump, pressure builds up. And when you press the handle, the water gets forced into the bowl then out into the holding tank—and that’s when you get that satisfying flush effect.
Why buy a camping toilet with flush?
The main reason people opt for a flushing loo is the smell. Or rather a lack of it.
Flushing toilets are almost odor-free. I don’t know about you, but when I use these things I don’t like to be smelling other people’s business (well mine neither for that matter!).
The odorless feature really does attract a lot of people, especially families and larger groups.
Also, imagine you are in the middle of nowhere or even at a campsite without a waste disposal point. You can actually take your flushing loo with you before emptying it.
Yes, as long as you are careful (and I do mean careful!), flushing loos have really good seals and don’t leak. This means you can move them. And this is good news if you have to drive 20 miles to the nearest emptying point.
Flushing loos are quite simply the most hygienic option you can choose.
Best portable camping toilets with flush
Camco is a popular name within the portable camping toilet world. It comes with two sizes of holding tanks: 2.6 and 5.3 gallons.
Unlike many other models, the fresh water tank can be refilled without having to move it around—so you should never really run out of water for flushing. Camco says that you can get around 25 flushes from this model, which for its size isn’t too bad.
At around 11lbs the Camco is fairly lightweight compared to other portable flushable camping toilets. But just because it’s lightweight doesn’t mean it’s not sturdy. The weight limit for this toilet is a pretty impressive 330lbs.
The flushing mechanism is a bellows-type system. This means you pump a handle and the water is flushed into the bowl. It’s probably not the most stylish or sleek flushing system but being this simple does mean there is much less that can go wrong with it.
- Sturdy construction with a 330lb weight limit
- Simple bellows type flushing mechanism
- Sealed valve to prevent odor and water leaks
The 565E Porta Potti from Thetford is one of best portable flushing toilets you can buy. If you are a regular camper, then you’ll know the name Thetford. It’s not the cheapest loo, but you do get a lot for your money.
For a start, this loo is electric meaning there is no need for pump handles. Just press a button and watch it flush.
The holding tank holds around 5.5 gallons of waste while the fresh water tank is 4 gallons in size. Thetford says that you can get over 50 flushes out of this Porta Potti, making it ideal for families and groups.
The holding tank has a sealed valve which stops those nasty smells escaping. The 565E is also designed with a special spout that prevents any splashback when you empty it. I mean, why wouldn’t you want a feature like that?
It even has a dedicated toilet roll holder and a level indicator that shows you when you need to empty or refill the tanks. These features make this a portable flushing camping toilet well worth considering.
- Modern design with large bowl
- Electric flushing mechanism
- 50+ flushes from the 4 gallon tank
- Level indicator for fresh water and holding tanks
- A no splash back spout for emptying
If you really feel like going upmarket then this Yitahome flushable porta potty with sink might just be what you are after.
The first thing that hits me about this setup is that the water you use from the sink gets recycled. Any waste water from the sink runs off down a pipe and becomes water used to flush with. It’s a neat feature that kind of makes up for the smallish 2.6-gallon fresh water tank you get in the toilet.
The sink itself has an effective foot pump to draw the water up to the faucet. There’s a 4.5-gallon fresh water tank for the sink so it’s definitely going to keep you going for a while.
There’s also a soap dispenser attached to it too. It does come with a toilet roll holder too which, being honest, does seem a bit flimsy but that’s probably me just being a bit picky.
You can buy Yitahome toilets in different sizes with different flush mechanisms but they all work with the sink unit. So if you decide to go down the toilet/sink combo route, just be sure to order the right one for your needs.
- Recycles waste water
- Slide valve seal to prevent smells escaping
- Easy to install. No tools needed
- Comes in a range of sizes to suit your needs
When you think of Coleman and camping, you probably don’t instantly think of portable camping toilets.
Coleman Portable Flush Toilet seems to fall into that love ‘em or hate ‘em type category among campers. We include it here because the Coleman does have some stand out features.
The first thing you will notice about this camping loo is its size. The large version of the Coleman provides you with that extra big bowl so it’s more like sitting on your own toilet at home.
The flip side to this is that it’s not a tall unit. But its compact size makes it an ideal RV toilet where space is at a premium. The Coleman large is also very sturdy with a weight limit of around 350lbs.
While we don’t want to dwell on such things for too long here, if you happen to have an upset stomach during your travels, a large fresh water tank is always a good thing. And at nearly 5 gallons, the Coleman offers one of the largest fresh water tanks you can get for a camping flushable toilet.
It also comes with a hose attachment so you can easily flush water into it and clean the toilet out. You don’t get that on many models and I find it a really handy addition to have.
- Extra-large bowl
- Sturdy with good weight limit
- Good sized fresh water tank
- Ideal for RVers & boaters
If you are looking for the best toilet for camping, then the Alpcour Portable Toilet is right up there.
First off, the height of this toilet is a little over 16.5 inches. With the average height of an outdoor camping toilet being around 15 inches, this is one of the tallest camping loos around. And if you are like me at over 6ft tall, that extra height really makes a difference.
Like most flushable toilets, the Alpcour boasts a good size holding tank at just over 5 gallons. The fresh water tank isn’t as large as some but this is made up for by the impressive 50+ flush capacity of the unit.
The flush mechanism is a pump-action style that provides enough pressure to give an entire 360-degree spray around the bowl. The only other toilets that can clean that well on a single flush are battery-operated ones, such as the Thetford.
The unit is a little over 11lbs in weight out of the box and comes with its own carry case. Being lightweight doesn’t mean it’s not sturdy. This little beasty has an impressive load capacity of 440lbs.
Together with a lockable holding tank, level indicators, and rotating spout for hygienic emptying, the Alpcour has to be one of the best portable flushing toilets on the market.
- 50+ flush capacity
- High pressure 360-degree spray
- Above average height
- Excellent load bearing limit
The 345 Porta Potti from Thetford is designed more for RVs and trucks than camping. Don’t get me wrong, this little flushable loo would be right at home on a campsite but its smaller, more compact design makes it ideal for your motorhome or boat.
You get all the features you would expect from Thetford such as the level indicators that tell you when it’s time to empty the tank, and the sealed valve that prevents smells from escaping. It just comes as a more compact product.
You get the rotating spout that’s exclusive to Thetford which allows you to empty the waste without fear of it splashing back, which I always think is one of the major advantages of the Thetford.
The 4-gallon fresh water tank gives an average of 33 flushes from the piston pump flush mechanism. Most flushable camping toilets have a holding tank that’s bigger than the fresh water tank. But that’s not the case here with the waste water tank being a little over 3 gallons. It just means you have to be a bit careful about not over filling your holding tank!
- Exclusive rotating spout for hygienic emptying
- Lightweight yet sturdy
- Great for RVs or boats due to its compact size
- Piston pump flushing mechanism
The Flush-N-Go by Reliance makes this list because of its no-frills design. That doesn’t mean it’s cheaper or less well-built; it just doesn’t have all the fancy gizmos some of the other models here have.
What it lacks in frills, the Flush-N-Go makes up for in other ways. Take its dimensions, especially the height. At 17 inches, this is probably the tallest portable camping toilet you can buy.
The simple design means there is less to go wrong with it and therefore should give you better value for money in the long run.
The flushing mechanism is a piston pump system you work by hand but with just a 2.5-gallon fresh water tank, you won’t get many flushes out of it. The waste water tank has a 5 gallon capacity but unlike some other models, you don’t get the indicator to tell you when it’s full.
Although the flushing mechanism is pretty basic, the Flush-N-Go uses a T-Nozzle system that jets water from 3 points down into the bowl. It’s actually pretty effective and it generates more pressure than some more expensive, fancier models.
- T-Nozzle system gives 360 degree cleaning
- High pressure jets for extra cleaning power
- Tall unit at 17 inches
- Piston pump action flushing system
The Camping Brothers Ourdoor Portable Toilet is lightweight at under 11lbs, but it still comes with a large waste water holding tank. The 2.5-gallon fresh water tank means you should be able to get 50+ flushes from it so you’re not going to be emptying this one every day.
This toilet comes with a carry case. That may not be unusual in itself but this case allows you to use the toilet without having to unpack it first. Yes, the top of the carry case comes up, a flap comes down at the front so you can get to the flush mechanism and you just plonk yourself down onto it.
I’m not sure it would be a selling point for me, but you can’t argue that it’s a nice feature to have, especially in an emergency!
The detachable tanks make this portable toilet really easy to clean. It’s quite compact but still has a good height to it at just over 16 inches. It can also take a load up to 286lbs making it suitable for most people.
- Unique carry case design means you don’t have to unpack it to use it
- Lightweight yet sturdy
- 50+ flushes
- Good height at 16 inches
Here we look at what you might call the budget end of portable flushing toilets. That being said, this flushing toilet by TPS doesn’t feel like the budget end.
For a start, there’s the all-important tank sizes You get a 5.2-gallon fresh water tank and a waste water tank that’s a little over 6 gallons in capacity.
You have to use a hand pump to build the pressure up before flushing, and while it doesn’t come with any fancy spray systems, you still get over 40 flushes before having to refill.
When it comes to emptying the TPS, the unit comes with a rotating spout; something you don’t tend to find on the cheaper loo. A rotating spout means less mess and smell when it comes to emptying too, which in my book is always a bonus!
You get all the normal seals and valves you would expect to find on a portable camping flushing loo for that odor-free experience too. And while TPS markets this portable toilet as compact, you still have a respectable 16 inches of height to it.
So if you are on a budget you could do worse than to go for this model. Even if you’re not on a budget, it’s still a pretty decent option.
- Large fresh water tank
- Powerful hand pump flush
- Rotating spout for mess free emptying
- Compact design
If you have ever used portable camping toilets in the past, you’ll know that most of them are, well, small. Trying to position yourself on one of these things can be, well, tricky.
Enter the Dometic 5 gallon portable flushing camping toilet with its full-size seat. A full-size seat means one thing: comfort.
Dometic’s portable toilet also comes with a latching lid. Not all portable toilets have this feature, but it’s a nice thing to have especially if you see yourself moving it around before it needs emptying.
The flushing system uses less than a pint of water per flush, so again you get 40+ flushes before having to fill it up again. There’s a level indicator so you can keep an eye on your tanks. These indicators aren’t essential but they are one of those things you miss if you’ve had them in the past.
This toilet is pretty sturdy too. It’s made from something called ABS plastic, a high-strength material that is very resistant to physical impacts and chemical corrosion. This means that the Dometic will last you for years, even if you leave it out in the harshest of weather.
- Full-size seat for comfort
- Latching lid
- Highly resistant to the elements
- 40+ flushes from the 5 gallon tank
FAQs about portable camping toilets
How do I choose a portable flushing toilet?
With such an array of different camping toilets available, this is a great question. First and foremost, you want something that doesn’t leak.
Flushable loos all have seals and valves that stop odors from seeping out into your tent or RV. That being said, some are better at doing this than others.
The next thing I look for is durability and comfort. It’s no good for me to buy something that’s too low to the ground; it just wouldn’t be comfortable enough and I’d end up buying something else.
Then we come to the flush mechanism.
I tend to stay away from electric flushing toilets, and that’s for a couple of reasons. Electrics can and do go wrong, especially if they get wet. If it’s the only way you can flush your #2 away and suddenly your toilet doesn’t flush, then you got yourself a problem.
The second reason I steer clear of them is that batteries run out of power. I’m sure you know where I’m going with this but if you don’t have any spare batteries, again you’ve got an issue.
I tend to go for a toilet that uses minimal water while giving a good clean finish. Flush mechanisms that swill the bowl from 2 or 3 different nozzles tend to work best. You also want a nice bit of pressure behind the flush rather than a little dribble.
Size of tanks
For me, the size of fresh and waste water tanks isn’t as important as say, comfort and flush effectiveness. It’s just personal taste I guess but then I don’t tend to go camping with lots of other people, so I don’t have to worry about emptying the loo every day.
Try before you buy
Finally, I’d say before you buy any portable toilet, do some research. Go to your local camping store and have a look at the different models available. Try them out; not actually of course, but sit on them and see how they suit you.
There really is no substitute for actually viewing a product before you buy.
Can I use toilet paper in a portable camping toilet?
Yes, you can use toilet paper in a portable toilet, but it’s maybe not the best thing to do.
You can get toilet paper specially designed for portable loos that breaks down better in the chemicals. It just makes blockages less likely, and of course, you don’t want a blockage when you’re trying to empty it!
Can you poop in a portable toilet?
Yes, you can. You can do your #2 in any portable camping toilet. It’s what they’re designed for, really. They probably wouldn’t sell very well if you couldn’t.
How do you empty a portable camping toilet?
The waste water is held in a holding tank. You have to unlatch this tank from the main toilet so you can empty it down a regular loo.
The tanks come in various sizes so you have to remember that when they’re full they can get quite heavy!
What’s the best portable camping toilet?
There isn’t a right answer for this. It really depends on what you want. All toilets are of different sizes and offer different features. What you need is a toilet that feels comfortable for you.
Personally, I would always go for something with an effective flush; something that doesn’t have you wasting half your fresh water supply to get the bowl clean.